AmorChem invests in novel approach to target Myc-driven cancers
Montreal – (BUSINESSWIRE) – February 12, 2020, AmorChem II is proud to announce the financing of a collaboration centered around c-Myc, a proto-oncogene implicated in over 50% of all human cancers. The venture capital fund is partnering with Univalor, the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (“IRCM”) and McGill University in order to support the innovative work of the teams of Tarik Möröy and Nicolas Moitessier.
According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. The dysregulation of the oncoprotein c-Myc is a feature of many cancers, including medulloblastoma, colon cancer and leukemias. However, c-Myc is generally considered to be a challenging target because it lacks a druggable domain. In fact, despite the centrality of its role, none of the efforts to modulate c-Myc have shown clinical success to date.
“What attracted us to the project is the team’s unique proposal of targeting Miz-1, a c-Myc co-factor, which is critical for c-Myc’s ability to regulate cell cycle progression as well as apoptosis. We believe this is a very intriguing approach which also offers the potential of adding a promising small molecule strategy in the field of immunotherapy through the emerging role of c-Myc in T-cell biology,” says Kevin McBride, Partner and Chief Scientific Officer at AmorChem.
“We recognised during their participation at the 2019 AmorChem KNOCK OUTTM that the ideal combination Dr. Möröy’s work in molecular biology and Dr. Moitessier’s work in medicinal and computational chemistry offered significant potential for solving the challenges presented by this target,” explains Inès Holzbaur, Managing Partner at AmorChem.
“Beyond c-Myc, this program’s platform provides AmorChem a unique opportunity to develop a series of new drugs based on the potential druggability of POZ domains aimed, eventually, at other critical targets,” adds Elizabeth Douville, Managing Partner at AmorChem.
“Participating in commercialized research such as this is a key goal for our University,” said Sylvain Coulombe, Associate Vice-Principal, Innovation and Partnerships (I+P), McGill University. “Transforming world-leading research into innovation that saves lives is and will always be our priority, and this association brings us closer to that reality.”
“The IRCM values collaboration and we are convinced of the benefits of bringing together the best experts around a project. We are therefore extremely pleased to receive the support of AmorChem for this promising collaborative project which aims to develop new therapeutic strategies for the future, “said Max Fehlmann, President and Scientific Director of the IRCM.
“Commercialising university research is not a simple task. It requires several stakeholders to agree on a common vision for the maturation of a project, and to work together toward de-risking innovation in order to create commercial value. The collaboration between the IRCM, McGill University, Univalor and AmorChem is a very good example of this kind of partnership. Through AmorChem’s financial support, it will be possible to validate the potential of a new platform developed by the team of Dr Möröy and Dr Moitessier”, says Luc Paquet, President and CEO of Univalor.
AmorChem (www.amorchem.com) is a leading early stage venture capital fund launched in 2011 in Montreal. The AmorChem team utilizes its deep understanding of fundamental science to uncover its therapeutic potential and focuses its core expertise in translational research to accelerate therapeutic drug discovery and development across a broad spectrum of disease areas. The fund capitalises on both its venture capital expertise and its entrepreneurial experience to spark the creation of start-up companies and help shape them into the next generation of biotech companies. With over $85M under management, AmorChem has financed over 30 university projects and started up several biotechnology companies from the fruits of this innovative research..
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Elizabeth Douville, Ph.D.
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Inès Holzbaur, Ph.D.
Founder and managing partner
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